The State Of Cultivated Meat In Asia
Asia has a large population that is eating more and more meat, so it’s a massive potential market for cultivated meat. While the Asian market only accounts for 4.5% of the world’s cultivated meat investments, it is one of the fastest-growing regions for investment in cultivated meat research. In 2021, $312 million was invested in alternate protein in the Asia-Pacific region. About 20% was dedicated to cultivated meat, which is almost 50% more than the previous year.
To better understand the state of cultivated meat across Asia, researchers conducted a literature review and looked for key themes and issues. Since 2015, when the first Asian paper about cultivated meat was published, the number of publications per year has sharply increased. More than half of papers are original research articles. Most papers are about science and technology, especially cell line development, the first step in cultivated meat production. Universities, governments, and research institutes have established research centers and courses that focus on alternative proteins and cultivated meat.
The review found that Singapore stands out as a leader in cultivated-meat policy and regulation. The “30 by 30” policy, which aims for Singapore to provide 30% of its nutritional needs by 2030, empowers the government to fund organizations advancing food technology. Singapore is still the only country in the world to have approved the commercial sale of cultivated meat, which it did in 2022. However, Singapore’s government still approves cultivated meat products on a case-by-case basis. Similar legislation focusing on cultivated meat is underway in Japan and South Korea. The Chinese government has made positive statements about cultivated meat, but it has no comprehensive regulatory framework.
The authors also note that Asian countries have a different cultivated-meat market than other countries do. For example, Asian countries have a greater focus on producing cultivated meat from aquatic animals compared to other regions, probably due to the higher consumption of these animals. According to the authors, Asian countries also have a higher acceptance of novel foods than Western countries do. Studies have shown that cultivated meat’s acceptance rate is higher in China and Singapore than in the United States.
Collaboration and sharing technical advances are important to scale up cultivated meat in Asia. For example, cultivated meat companies in Asia have partnered with Western companies to share knowledge. Western cultivated meat companies work with Asian food producers who can sell their products more easily in Asian markets. If Asian companies and researchers can take advantage of innovations in the West (and vice versa), then the authors believe that cultivated meat will be on our plates quicker.